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EU Structural Funds for Bulgaria

EU Structural Funds for Bulgaria

Bulgaria joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. Alongside with Romania, Bulgaria signed the Treaty of Accession in 2005, arranging an agreement between all EU Member States to become part of the second stage of EU's fifth enlargement. As of January 1, 2007, Bulgaria has been granted the right to be represented in front of the European Commission with one commissioner Miglena Kuneva.

As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria will be granted significant financial support from the EU Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy. These Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund are meant to provide financial support to the poorer countries in the union in order to aid their integration and help them catch up with the standards of the advanced European countries. Many European countries, subject to earlier accession than Bulgaria, have benefited enormously from the structural funds provided by the European family. For the strategic period 2007-2013, there will be three structural funds aiding Bulgaria accelerate its economy: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund. ERDF's main objectives cover regional economic development and co-operation throughout the EU subjects for financing are infrastructure, innovation of urban areas, research and innovation of technology, support for small and medium enterprises, creation and maintenance of sustainable jobs, culture and health; the fund is a major instrument for helping to redress regional imbalances. European Social Fund is created to promote employment in the European Union. Its resources are directed towards the development of the labour market: promote better education and improve people's professional qualifications, increase adaptability of workers, promote social inclusion, increase productivity. ESF invests in people and everything that supports human capital. The Cohesion Fund is a special one: it is to be used only from the EU Member States which GDP is 90% or less than the EU average GDP. The Cohesion Fund finances 2 types of projects environmental projects and transport infrastructure projects (of European importance).

All of the finances provided by the Structural Funds will be regulated by the European Legislation. The exact way Bulgaria will absorb the finances from the Structural Funds is defined by Bulgaria's National Strategic Reference Framework, which needs to be approved by the European Commission.

There are 7 Operational Programmes in Bulgaria to be supported by the Structural Funds: Regional Development, Competitiveness, Environment, Transport, Human Resources Development, Administrative Capacity, and Technical Assistance.

The Operational Program for Regional Development is aimed at improving the social and economic conditions in Bulgaria. The main goal of the programme is to help Bulgaria overcome the differences between the 6 regions in the country, as well as to overcome the differences between Bulgarian and other European regions. The financial resources appointed for this programme are 1,601,274,759 Euros, 1,361,083,545 Euros of which will be financed by EU. There are 5 priority axes included in the OPRD:

  1. Sustainable and Integrated Urban Development. Resources: 839,067,973 euros, 713,207,777 of which are will be financed by the fund
  2. Regional and Local Accessibility. Resource: 400,318,689 euros, 340,270,886 of which will be financed by EU
  3. Sustainable Tourism Development. Resources: 218,009,623 euros, 185,379,580 of which will be financed by EU
  4. Local development and co-operation. Resources: 89,671,387 euros, 76,220,679 of which will be financed by EY
  5. Technical Assistance. Resources: 54,123,087 euros

Operational Programme Environment will be financed with 1,800,748,087 euros by 2013.

Operational Programme Competitiveness is aimed at developing a dynamic economy, competitive on the European and World markets. Resources appointed for the financial support of this Programme are 1.1 billion euros (to be financed by EU and Bulgaria).

Operational Programme Human Resources Development is aimed at developing the human capital in the country, limiting unemployment, increasing the salaries and the social integration. Resources planned for this Operational Programme are 1,213,869,575 euros.

Resources for Administrative Capacity appointed for the period 2007-2013 are 180,789,087; 153,670,724 of them are planned to be funded by the European Social Fund.

Resources for Technical Assistance are 56,819,427; 48,296,513 of them are planned to be funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Fishery is also an Operational Programme, the difference between Fishery and the other 7 programmes is that it will be funded by the European Fisheries Fund. Resources appointed for this programme are 107,000,000 euros, 75 % of which will be financed by the EU.

Financing from the Common Agricultural Policy
Here is the financial support appointed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (in millions of euros):


European Union































Total (mln euros)

2 609,10


3 241,84

Total (mln leva)

5 102,95

1 237,54

6 340,50



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